An energy expert who founded a wind-power startup plans to dethrone the congressman known as the nation's top eco-villain, Rep. Richard Pombo (who devoted a special Earth Day web page to ripping "sky is falling" environmentalists). Democratic challenger Jerry McNerney's (left) credentials include a stint at West Point and high level engineering and security work. His son--who signed up with the Air Force after 9/11--convinced dad to run. Plus, McNerney serves up the requisite firm handshake.I found out the latter at last night's Green Drinks party, a monthly shoulder-rubbing shindig. San Franciscans can't even vote for McNerney since the 11th District is within the outer eastern reaches of the BART line, where Pombo won 6 terms. Still, McNerney hopes that San Francisco citizens will hand over the greenbacks for his campaign. Green-minded voters are desperate for McNerney to oust Pombo, known for backing the sale of public forest lands as well as drilling for oil in the pristine Arctic, and other classic ungreen stuff that spoils national and global natural treasures--even though the kids' section of his website shows off a happy, fiddling raccoon. Aw. Yet McNerney's blog likens Pombo to a Soprano:
As the recipient of another commander-in-chief cuddle...no incumbent is a more worthy target of voter ire than Richard Pombo...While Pombo's disregard for our veterans and his record on the environment are deplorable, Pombo is also under fire for corruption.
McNerney has come closer than anyone else to beating Pombo, who is otherwise poised to take the helm of the House Agriculture Committee in 2008 once his term as Resources Committee chairman expires. Green Republicans on the Hill preferred Pete McCloskey as a Pombo foil in the spring, but now out of the race, McCloskey backs McNerney. McNerney is getting endorsements left and right from area papers, too.